St. Croix Ballroom & Latin Dance Studio is so much more than just a place to learn to dance. When you open the doors of their Strand Street studio, you are greeted warmly and welcomed into a diverse community you never knew existed here on St. Croix. While they make it easy for anyone to learn to dance, it’s their enthusiasm and the nurturing environment they’ve created that draws in new students and keeps them coming back for more.
St. Croix Ballroom & Latin Dance Studio was founded in 2021 by co-owners Garincha and Jennifer Hilaire. After having owned several studios in Philadelphia, the pair moved to St. Croix for a change of scenery and opened their Christiansted studio to “further the accessibility, joy and value of dancing”. As their student base grew, they brought down additional instructors Charlie and Serge from their former West Philly Ballroom & Latin studio to round out the staff. Just a year after opening, they have lovingly created an entire dance community that continues to grow…and anyone who wants to share their passion to dance is welcomed with open arms!
Whether you want to learn a special first dance for your wedding, or you want to salsa at social events, St. Croix Ballroom & Latin Dance Studio (SCLBD) is the place for you! Having been a student of the studio since they opened, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of their teaching methods. Their program makes it easy to learn and understand how the different ballroom and Latin dance styles use the same basic types of steps. In the year that I have been taking lessons, my husband and I have learned the Foxtrot, Tango, Salsa, Bachata, Rhumba, Cha Cha, and a even a little bit of Swing. We’ve even gained enough confidence in our skills to participate in several of the studio’s showcases.
While SCLBD does offer group lessons and practice sessions, private lessons are the quickest and most effective way to learn how to dance. With private lessons you have the undivided attention of your instructor, and they can customize your lessons to help you reach your personal dance goals. No partner and no experience are necessary! You can literally ‘walk in off the street’ and learn to dance. Best of all, your first lesson is free!
Events & Social Gatherings
SCLBD also hosts events and social opportunities to offer dancing to everyone. They have joined forces with The Deep End at Tamarind Reef Resort to offer a ‘Salsa, Sushi & Sangria Night’ on Mondays starting at 6pm. Anyone in attendance can take free group dance lessons at the beginning of the evening, then open dancing starts and the floor comes alive with salsa dancers. You can also find SCLBD instructors teaching group lessons at local venues like Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, and special events like the annual Project Promise ‘Havana Nights’ fundraiser.
In addition to social dancing events, SCLBD also schedules student showcases about once a quarter. These events are designed to encourage students to showcase their newest skills to the other students in the dance community. The evenings are always fun and we students really enjoy seeing everyone learning different dances and improving their dance skills.
My favorite part of the journey with SCLBD by far has been the incredible people I’ve met in their dance community. This diverse crowd includes dancers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels; but, everyone in the community (whether student or instructor) has a shared love of dance. Regardless of experience level, members of the dance community are very supportive and encouraging of each other as we all learn and grow in our personal dance journey. It’s also fun at practice sessions, showcases and social events to have lots of different people to partner with. It really builds confidence to be able to walk up to others and ask them to dance with you, and to be able to hold your own on the dance floor.
On a personal note, I want to thank Garincha, Jennifer, Serge and Charlie for the dedication, enthusiasm and encouragement they have shown to me and all of my fellow students of St. Croix Ballroom & Latin Dance Studio. Not only have they helped me to improve my skills at many different dances, but they have introduced me to many wonderful new friends with whom I have a shared passion. If you are even considering learning to dance, stop by St. Croix Ballroom & Latin Dance Studio and sign up for a free lesson. Not only will you learn to dance, but you’ll be welcomed into a positive, friendly and fun family of dancers who will cheer you on as you embark on your own dance journey.
-Jennie Ogden, Editor